The rural Southwest feels vast and empty. Driving from Los Angeles to New Mexico, my wife Susan and I saw sweeping landscapes of alluvial fans and sheer cliffs, and mesas that stretched as far as we could see. Just the idea that people carved out a way of life on these lands left us in awe of our ancestors and, before them — centuries before them, millennia even — the first people who lived here.
People still live on this arid earthscape. They populate the small towns along the railroad tracks. They dwell in pueblos at the tops of mesas. They survive tucked into corners of cliff sides and in the bottomlands of rivers. Driving through such rugged beauty made us aware of the power of nature and the relative powerlessness of human beings in that kind of environment.
Excerpt from Jim Conn’s article in Capital and Main– Read more
“Religion” is typically considered as a “belief system” or a “structure of beliefs and practices concerning the divine.” It’s a recent development in the meaning of the word, and it would have been foreign to, say, Aquinas, for whom religion was a virtue.
A virtue is the perfection of a power of the soul, or, in modern parlance, an excellenceof the human person. We see a height of humanity in courageous actions, a greatness we are all capable of. We admire courage, not as something for just this or that person, but as something every human being can and ought to aspire to. Virtue, then, is not the addition of some pleasing quality, slapped on like a sticker on the surface of this or that person. Virtue is the perfection of those powers and capacities every person really does have, our indwelling capacities for courage, patience, justice — and religion.
Excerpt from Patheos blog- Read more.
Islam, the West, and our (shared?) responsibilities
Talal Asad (b. 1932) is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Asad’s work has played a major role in the study of Islam as far as including Muslim self-understandings of what Islam is and what it means to be Muslim. In this interview, Asad discusses Eurocentric notions of “humanity” and “civilization,” growing Islamophobia in Europe and America, and the violence committed with impunity by Western states — particularly the U.S. — previously and today.
Excerpt from Hasan Azad’s interview with Talal Asad- Read more
So when it comes to human nature, we just so happen to be a confusing race, we have the ability to be caring, loving and totally supportive people but then sometimes we can be evil. There are plenty of vulnerable people on this planet and some just can’t speak up and help themselves so others need to do it for them. However it’s true that no one knows what happens behind closed doors and if no one could see your actions do you think you would be so p
Excerpt from Louis’s article in the Daily News UK- Read more and watch video.
Transgender radio presenter Stephanie Hirst answers the question What Makes us Human? Listen to the BBC interview here.
From my own life experiences, and the experiences of the thousands of couples I’ve counseled over the last 47 years, I’ve discovered four major keys that are essential for creating and maintaining loving relationships:
1. Learn how to love yourself.
You cannot share your love with your partner if you feel empty inside due to self-abandonment. Loving yourself means taking responsibility for your own feelings rather than making your partner responsible for your pain, joy, and self-worth.
Excerpt from Margaret Paul’s article in MindBodyGreen- Read more
Where did you go on your last vacation? If you live in the city or the suburbs, there’s a good chance that you spent it in a natural setting, perhaps at a national park, the beach or a cabin in the mountains.
Most of us have felt the inexplicable pull of the outdoors, even if it’s simply prompting us to take a neighborhood walk or sit in the backyard watching the clouds or the squirrels. Nature holds a special kind of energy: it is pure and wild and spirit-renewing.
Excerpt from Traci Pederson’s article in Psych Central- Read more.
It’s a grabby headline: “Vatican sacks gay priest as Pope opens Synod.”
Indeed, when Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, one the Vatican’s chief theological gatekeepers, openly celebrated his homosexuality and love for his partner as the “will of God” on the eve of the Synod on the Family, he both got himself fired and stirred a chorus of controversy—perhaps beyond his reckoning.
Might it rile an intransigent “hell-no” chorus or empower liberals to face the Church with its own “We’re here, we’re queer. So, deal with it” chorus? Will it expose the brittle historicity (and thus fallibility) of the church’s long naturalized theological anthropology? Can we expect the Vatican to examine its most fundamental notions about sex, sexual identity, and gender?
Along with gay Catholics, keen Catholic feminists also relentlessly point out the oddities of the Church’s vision of the sexed human person. Could this be their moment, too? Indeed, timed for the Synod, the Paulist Press’ publication of an anthology of essays—Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table—exposes how very weird, and not so wonderful, the official Vatican view of sexed human nature is.
Excerpt from Ivan Strensky’s article in the University of South Carolina’s Religion Dispatches- Read more.
Moving toward a more people-centric era of computing Second-generation Australian anthropologist Genevieve Bell is a vice president and research fellow at Intel Corporation. Previously a professor at Stanford University, Bell wound up at Intel because, as she explained in a well-attended session during the opening morning of NRFtech 2015, “I met a man in a bar.” He introduced her to some people at Intel, who offered her a job helping the company explore the human side of the technologies it was pioneering. It seemed like a good idea, Bell said, until she was told by her new boss that Intel needed her help with two things. One was women. “‘We want to know what they want,’” she was told. The other thing was described as ROW — the rest of the world, i.e. everything that isn’t the United States. – See more at: https://nrf.com/news/being-human-digital-world#sthash.TSCLSG0l.dpuf